For Radio Control
© Sedgemoor Radio Control Flying Club
Near Bridgwater. Somerset, England
The Sedgemoor Radio Control Flying Club is pleased to be associated with, and support the Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust.
The nation's airfields, Westonzoyland included, are places of great historical importance and sadly, many are being destroyed or neglected. The Trust aims to advance the education of the public in the history of British airfields and to preserve their historical records. The charity aims to erect memorials wherever possible, to ensure these heritage sites, and the people who served there, are not forgotten. On 28th November 2015, one such memorial was unveiled at Westonzoyland Village Hall, located close to our airfield and was formerly used by the RAF as a Gymnasium and Cinema.
RAF Weston Zoyland (always two words for the RAF) originated in the mid-1920’s as a landing ground, being in use by 1926 for drogue tugs using the anti-aircraft gunnery range off Watchet. At first, it was no more than an extended cow pasture, subject only to seasonal use, until the Second World War loomed, when the site was occupied on a permanent basis. During the pre-war years, buildings were erected piecemeal as required and the landing ground area gradually enlarged but, with the fall of France, Weston Zoyland was no longer a backwater airfield.To obtain the necessary amount of land for siting runways of sufficient length, the A372 to was closed and diverted south on a former minor road.
In 1942, the Air Ministry decided to upgrade the airfield to bomber standard and, early in 1943, work began on laying concrete runways and the perimeter track The main runway was 5,775 ft in length and set at 110/290 degrees.
Several Squadrons were based at Weston Zoyland, but the longest stay was by No. 16 Squadron RAF who flew Westland Lysanders, and later the Mustang. Later, Spitfires became a common sight being flown by No. 19 Squadron RAF and others. Nos. 286 and 587 Squadrons with their mixture of Miles Martinets, Hawker Hurricanes, Airspeed Oxfords, Vultee A-31 Vengeances and North American Harvards remained in residence until near the end of hostilities. 587 Squadron was formed at RAF Weston Zoyland on 1 December 1943, from 1600 Flight, 1601 Flight and 1625 Flight for anti-aircraft co-operation duties over Wales and the south east of England. Four fighter squadrons came and departed during the months following the end of the war in Europe, but by 1947 the station was reduced to care and maintenance.
There was virtually no further flying at Weston Zoyland until the summer of 1952 when, to meet the Soviet threat, an increase in the RAF's strength and a demand for more aircrews found Meteors and Vampires operating in a training role.
English Electric Canberra squadrons were present during the mid-1950s when Weston Zoyland was used as a work-up station prior to overseas assignments. By 1958 the station was once more deserted of aircraft and, although retained by the Air Ministry for another ten years, it never reopened for military flying. Some of these Canberras flew out to Australia to take part in the British atomic tests at Maralinga.
The ABCT website ( www.abct.org.uk ) contains more than 2,000 pages and is a fantastic resource.